Day 196: Gulm in New Ulm

When Laetitia typed her vignettes for posting on the Mind’s Eye website, she found that she had to check her work carefully so see that she hadn’t done “the dyslexic thing.” From time to time she would type “taht” instead of “that” or “wnet” instead of “went.” For some reason this spurious thought was on her mind as she sipped coffee in the library of the Emerald Victorian and contemplated the day’s tour. Ultimately, she decided to meet her group in New Ulm, Minnesota.

When German immigrants founded New Ulm in 1854, they named it after the city of Ulm, in what is now southern Germany. New Ulm residents make much of the town’s German heritage. The town has a glockenspiel and several festivals each year with German themes. Schell’s brewery is almost as old as the town and has been in continuous operation since it opened.

Laetitia and her group happened to arrive in New Ulm at the time of the Heritage Fest that is held annually at the fairgrounds. They sat at picnic tables under a pavilion, drinking Schell’s beer and being entertained by bands, orchestras, and dancers from all over Germany. Laetitia left her group at the table and moved through the crowd, hoping to hear something that might make a good limerick.

She met an alphorn player who played his horn at intervals when other musicians weren’t performing, and she talked to him when he was on break. He had several local stories, including one about a failed attempt to rob the local bank. The would-be robber was a bit dyslexic, so when he passed the handwritten note to the teller telling him that he had a gun and that he should hand over the money, the note actually read, “I’ve got a gnu.” The teller didn’t necessarily know that “gnu” is another name for the African antelope, more commonly known as the wildebeest, but he thought it was a joke and he burst out laughing. Soon everyone in the bank was laughing, ignoring the demands of the would-be robber, until the police came and hauled him off to jail. When Laetitia wrote the limerick of the day, she didn’t correct mistakes that could be blamed on “the dyslexic thing.”

Staring out from his cell in New Ulm
The dyslexic bank robber looked gulm
For his “I’ve got a gnu”
Which made laughter ensue
Spoiled a bank job he thought was a pulm.